So many cool digital marketing tools and apps exist out there to make digital marketing fun, easy, and effective, but if you don't have your marketing strategy down, you're not going to succeed, no matter what tools you use. A thorough evaluation of your business is vital to the success of your marketing strategy. It can be the difference between why Facebook marketing works for one company yet doesn't work for another (or Pinterest or any other marketing tool). I'm going to discuss three basic questions to ask yourself to get to know your business better. Once you’ve answered these questions, then you can effectively plan your marketing strategy.
Three Questions to Ask Yourself about Your Business
- The first question is “what is it?” Specifically, what products/services do you have to sell? This can actually be a pretty complex question. You have to narrow down your answer and define who you are as a business. Do you sell baby clothes? Or do you sell specialty coffees? Or perhaps you sell both? Are you an “everything” store? What makes your everything different than somebody else’s everything? Take Walmart, for example. Walmart is an everything store, but what sets it apart is that it generally offers low-cost items. On the other hand, you also need to decide what you don’t offer. This is called positioning. You need to position yourself in the minds of your customers. Really dive deep into your business and discover what it is that you do better than anyone else in your market. Then take that discovery and write your unique positioning statement. (Every business needs a unique positioning statement.)
- The second question is “who wants it?” This is an extremely important question, yet I often encounter businesses that fail to consider who wants/needs their products/services. Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of owning your own business and selling certain products, yet you haven’t considered that slap bracelets and neon scrunchies haven’t really been a thing since the early 90s. Or maybe you’ve inherited your family’s business. When the business was started, it was more relevant than it is today, and the demand for that business isn’t as high now as it was then. To succeed in your industry, you must adjust your business structure and your marketing strategy to stay relevant and find those customers who have the means and motivation to buy what you’re selling.
- The third question is “how do they get it?” There are actually two sides to this question. The first one deals with how people hear about your products/services to begin with. This is where marketing comes in. How do you get people to hear about your offerings and want to learn more about them? The majority of marketing dollars is spent on brand awareness and getting your business name out there so that people know exactly who you are and what you do. You'll need to think through which marketing channels are going to resonate best with your target audience. Until you’ve determined what you’re offering and who wants it, your marketing won’t be as powerful as it could be. The other side to this question is how the products/services are delivered to your customers. For example, do the products ship from a third-party manufacturer? Do people come into your bakery to get their cupcakes? Can students take their lessons via Zoom or Skype? Remember, the more answers you have to these questions, the more success you'll have in your business.
First Things Aren’t Always First
One thing to remember is that these three questions aren’t linear. You don’t necessarily have to answer what you have before you answer who wants it. Sometimes you can decide what products to offer based on what the market wants. The most successful businesses anticipate the needs of their customers, and then create products and offer services that fulfill those needs. Just be mindful to do what works best for your business. The more time you spend diving into these three basic questions, and the more specific you can get with your answers, the better you will market and sell your products/services. And that’s what it’s all about!
Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.